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VOL. 21, NO. 1

Practical Applications Crohn’s Disease Scoliosis Lung Health Vestibular Disorders


Manouso Manos on Sarvangasana Carrie Owerko on Yoga and Hiking

Spring / Summer 2017

EXPERIENCE LOVE, LIGHT, AND JOY ON A YOGA RETREAT WITH JANET MACLEOD - JANUARY 20 – 26, 2018 Practice yoga with Janet MacLeod, Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor, on a blissful retreat at Rancho La Puerta Fitness Resort and Spa. Janet teaches classes at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco. She teaches around the country and worldwide offering workshops and retreats, spreading the teachings of BKS Iyengar wherever she goes. Her teaching style is demanding on all levels, this combined with her ability to create a joyful atmosphere in class has a transformative effect on students. Join Janet from January 20 – 26, 2018 at Rancho La Puerta’s 4,000-acre fitness resort and spa in Tecate, Baja California. You’ll experience world class fitness, superb cuisine, fascinating seminars, and so much more. New Ranch guests will save 20% on the entire week when referred by Janet. Email to redeem this offer.






News from the Regions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Yoga Samachar, the magazine of the Iyengar Yoga community in the U.S. and beyond, is published twice a year by the Publications Committee of the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the U.S. (IYNAUS). The word samachar means “news” in Sanskrit. Along with the website,, Yoga Samachar is designed to provide interesting and useful information to IYNAUS members to:

From Crippling Pain to Astavakrasana: How One Yogi Overcame Crohn’s Disease — Susan Goulet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Looking Back: The Shape of Scoliosis in My Life — Vicky Grogg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 On Yoga, Hiking, and Getting Off the Beaten Path — Carrie Owerko . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Lung Health, Disease, and Iyengar Yoga — Kelly Sobanski and Tony Hirsch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Vestibular Disorders — Michelle D. Williams . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Tribute to Evelia Pineda Torres — Christine Havener . . . . . . 28 Tribute to Ryan Conrad — Edward Gardiner and Deborah Morgenthal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

•  Promote the dissemination of the art, science, and philosophy of yoga as taught by B.K.S. Iyengar, Geeta Iyengar, and Prashant Iyengar • Communicate information regarding the standards and training of certified teachers

Sharon Cowdery: Behind the Scenes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

• Report on studies regarding the practice of Iyengar Yoga

Ask the Yogi — Manouso Manos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

• Provide information on products that IYNAUS imports from India

Musings: At Home at the End of the Road — Lisa Holt . . . . . 33 Book Review: Prashant Iyengar’s Yogasana: An Adhyatmik Academy — Jarvis T. Chen . . . . . . . . . . . 34 2016 Certifications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Become a Board Member . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

• Review and present recent articles and books written by the Iyengars • Report on recent events regarding Iyengar Yoga in Pune and worldwide

Treasurer’s Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

• Be a platform for the expression of experiences and thoughts from members, both students and teachers, about how the practice of yoga affects their lives

Back Page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

• Present ideas to stimulate every aspect of the reader’s practice

Classifieds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

IYNAUS BOARD MEMBER CONTACT LIST Spring / Summer 2017 Laurie Blakeney

Paige Noon

Sandy Carmellini

Anne-Marie Schultz

David Carpenter

Carlyn Sikes

Alex Cleveland

Kathy Simon

Matt Dreyfus

Christine Stein

Michele Galen

Manju Vachher

Gloria Goldberg

Nancy Watson

Scott Hobbs

Denise Weeks

Shaaron Honeycutt

Stephen Weiss

Patti Martin

Sharon Cowdery (Director of Operations)

Ann McDermott-Kave

Contact IYNAUS P.O. Box 538 Seattle, WA 98111 206.623.3562

YOGA SAMACHAR IS PRODUCED BY THE IYNAUS PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE Committee Chair: Denise Weeks Editor: Michelle D. Williams Copy Editor: Denise Weeks Design: Don Gura Advertising: Rachel Frazee Members can submit an article query or a practice sequence idea for consideration to be included in future issues. Articles should be well-written and submitted electronically. The Yoga Samachar staff reserves the right to edit accepted submissions to conform to the rules of spelling and grammar, as well as to the Yoga Samachar house style guidelines. Queries must include the author’s full name and biographical information related to Iyengar Yoga, along with email contact and phone number. Please send all queries to Michelle Williams, Editor,, and we will respond as quickly as possible.

ADVERTISING Full-page, half-page and quarter-page ads are available for placement throughout the magazine, and a classified advertising section is available for smaller ads. All advertising is subject to IYNAUS board approval. Find the ad rates at yoga-samachar. For more information, including artwork specifications and deadlines, please contact Rachel Frazee at or 608.269.1441. Cover: Recovery from Crohn’s disease: Susan Goulet does Astavakrasana on the rocky shores of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee, WI.

Yoga Samachar Spring / Summer 2017


IYNAUS OFFICERS AND STANDING COMMITTEES OFFICERS President, David Carpenter Vice President, Matt Dreyfus Secretary, Patti Martin Treasurer, Stephen Weiss Archives Committee Scott Hobbs & Chris Stein, Co-Chairs Lindsey Clennell, Elaine Hall, Linda Nishio, Deborah Wallach



prasamkhyane api akusidasya sarvatha vivekakhyateh dharmameghah samadhih (Patanjali IV.29) The yogi who has no interest even in this highest state of evolution and maintains supreme attentive, discriminative awareness, attains dharmameghah samadhi: He contemplates the fragrance of virtue and justice.

Certification Committee Laurie Blakeney, Chair Marla Apt, Steve Hornbacher, Peggy Kelley,Nina Pileggi Sue Salaniuk, Jayne Satter, Nancy Stechert, Lois Steinberg

Continuing Education Committee Alex Cleveland & Carlyn Sikes, Co-Chairs Laurie Blakeney, Peggy Gwi-Seok Hong, Julie Lawrence Octavia Morgan, Leanne Cusumano Roque, Shaw-Jiun Wang

Elections Committee David Carpenter, Chair Anne-Marie Schultz

Ethics Committee Manju Vachher, Chair Robyn Harrison,Lisa Jo Landsberg, Faith Russell, Jito Yumibo. Contact Ethics at

Events Committee Nancy Watson, Chair Sandy Carmellini, Gloria Goldberg, Randy Just, Suzie Muchnick

Finance Committee Stephen Weiss, Chair David Carpenter, Gloria Goldberg

Governance Committee David Carpenter, Chair Michele Galen, David Larsen, Patti Martin

Membership Committee Paige Noon, Chair IMIYA: Jessica Miller & Katya Slivinskaya, Co-Chairs IYACSR: Stephanie Lavender IYAGNY: Ed McKeaney IYALA: Becky Patel IYAMN: Joy Laine IYAMW: Donna Furmanek

IYANC: Richard Weinapple IYANE: Kim Peralta IYANW: Gwen Heisterkamp IYASCUS: Randy Just IYASE: Samuel Cooper IYASW: Carrie Abts

Publications Committee Denise Weeks, Chair Don Gura, Rachel Frazee, Renee Razzano, Michelle D. Williams

Public Relations and Marketing Committee Shaaron Honeycutt, Chair Amita Bhagat, Laura Lascoe, Rachel Mathenia, Zain Syed

Regional Support Committee Anne-Marie Schultz, Chair IYANW: Janet Langley IYAMW: David Larsen IYAGNY: Caren Rabbino IYASE: Lisa Waas IYASCUS: Randy Just IYASW: Marivic Wrobel

IMIYA: Cathy Wright IYAC-SR: Suneel Sundar IYALA: Jennifer Diener IYANE: Jarvis Chen IYAMN: Joy Laine IYANC: Athena Pappas

Scholarship and Awards Committee Carlyn Sikes, Chair Lesley Freyberg, Richard Jonas, Lisa Jo Landsberg, Pat Musburger, Nina Pileggi, John Schumacher

Service Mark & Certification Mark Committee Gloria Goldberg, Attorney in Fact for B.K.S. Iyengar

Systems & Technology Committee Stephen Weiss, Chair Sharon Cowdery, Shaaron Honeycutt, Ed Horneij, William McKee, David Weiner

Volunteer Coordinator Ann McDermott-Kave

Yoga Research Committee Kathy Simon, Chair Jerry Chiprin, William Conde Goldman, Renee Royal, Kimberly Williams

IYNAUS Senior Council Kristin Chirhart, Manouso Manos, Patricia Walden, Joan White


DEAR FELLOW IYNAUS MEMBERS, By the time this issue reaches you, David Carpenter will be the new IYNAUS President. I'm very pleased he is taking over the reins for the next few years. I trust his steady hand and his commitment to seeing our community flourish. We have been, and continue to be, in a time of great transition—both in the world around us and in our own yoga community. I have been impressed and touched by the good will and steadiness of purpose I see all around me in our community, even during times that have been so unsettled, that seem troubled and filled with distraction. B.K.S. Iyengar wrote that dharmamegha samadhi is “the fruit of the practice of yoga,” a rain cloud of virtue and justice that washes away confusion and transforms our personalities to make us open to the universe in a fully humane way. Patanjali’s sutra shows some of the necessary components of a journey toward this lofty goal. It requires vivekakhyateh, the fiercely attentive awareness Mr. Iyengar has insisted we cultivate in our practice. It also requires that we strive for the qualities of someone who is akusidasya: that we seek no gain, that we remain disinterested and untempted by emoluments, that we be ready to relinquish inappropriate attachments. This is an interesting tension: How do we remain fiercely attentive to our practice—both on the mat and in the world—and yet seek no gain, be ready to relinquish what is to be relinquished in the service of others, in the service of peace, virtue, and justice? IYNAUS is a community of teachers and practitioners devoted to Iyengar Yoga, to the exploration of what yoga can teach us and how it can change us. The amount of volunteer energy that sustains our organization is truly impressive. As our organization grows, the world around us also changes. As we change, people come and go, and, of course, disagreements arise, unproductive attachments are formed, and concerns about status, entitlements, and emoluments entice us and distract us for a while. And yet, our community does have a better side. When we can be fully attentive, open hearted, and able to relinquish status, time, space, prejudices, and positions, we then flourish together and the future is more open and less constrained by our own parochial points of view. It is this better side that shines the most, that nourishes us in our practice, and that keeps our organization vibrant. I wish for all of you the open-hearted, disinterested attitude we need for our practice and for our world to flourish, the fierce devotion to the practice that Guruji inspires, and a taste of that elusive dharmamegha samadhi of which Patanjali speaks. I look forward to seeing many of you before too long at important upcoming occasions: perhaps in December 2018 in Pune for the celebrations around Guruji’s 100th birthday or perhaps in Dallas in April 2019 for the IYNAUS Convention when Abhijata Sridhar returns to teach us once again (stay tuned for further details). In the meantime, I thank you wholeheartedly once again for all you contribute to our community and to IYNAUS. Yours in yoga, Michael Lucey Outgoing IYNAUS President Yoga Samachar Spring / Summer 2017



IMIYA The Intermountain Iyengar Yoga Association (IMIYA) consists of four states: Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Each year, we grow in membership size and commitment to the study of Iyengar Yoga. We currently have 147 members including 54 Certified Iyengar Yoga Teachers (CIYTs). For our 2017 membership drive, we offered five membership classes in February and March. IMIYA shows gratitude for the yearly return of our members, as well as for all new members signing up, with complimentary T-shirts. This year’s design depicts B.K.S. Iyengar in two different asanas, each centered in the thousand petal lotus flower of the high crown chakra. We also give a T-shirt to each of the senior teachers who travel to our states as a way of supporting and thanking them for their personal commitment to sharing Iyengar Yoga. This year, we have several senior teachers hosting workshops in our region: John Schumacher, Manouso Manos, Dean and Rebecca Lerner, Nancy Stechert, Devki Desai, Elise Miller, Chris Saudek, and Patricia Walden, to name a few. Some local yoga studios offer a 10 percent discount to IMIYA members for senior teacher workshops. IMIYA takes continuing education seriously, and we have heeded the words of Geetaji from a few years back: “We should learn to be good students, not just good teachers.” Our answer to that was to create a scholarship committee to review applications by anyone—teacher or student—who needs financial assistance to attend a qualified Iyengar Yoga teacher training program or workshop. IMIYA channels all money from T-shirt sales into the scholarship fund. Each year, we make funds available to cover 50 percent of the tuition of a teacher training program or to cover some portion of individual workshops. In this way, we show our commitment to the importance of learning and building up our yogic practice from year to year. For more information about our scholarship fund and to see our t-shirts, please visit We are an active community and growing. We update our website regularly and send out a monthly newsletter announcing news of the month, sharing quotes from B.K.S. Iyengar, and providing links to IYNAUS and other organizations within our greater Iyengar Yoga community around the world.

IYACSR “When your body, mind and soul are healthy and harmonious, you will bring health and harmony to those around you and health and harmony to the world—not by withdrawing from the world but by being a healthy living organ of the body of humanity.” —B.K.S. Iyengar

Yoga Samachar Spring / Summer 2017

BIRJOO MEHTA WORKSHOP AUG. 31–SEPT. 3, 2017 We are so excited to be hosting Birjoo Mehta once again. Birjoo offers profound understanding with a quiet delivery and approachability. The topic of the workshop is the Vayus, the winds within. The venue is William’s Barn in the Twin Oaks Valley of San Marcos, in North County San Diego. Situated in the middle of Walnut Grove Park, this intimate location is a breath of fresh air. COMMUNITY OUTREACH The Iyengar Yoga Center of San Diego (IYCSD) featured four CIYTs—Pat McLoughlin, Cyndy Cordle, Kim Kolibri, and Royal Fraser—at the annual San Diego Yoga Festival held Jan. 27-30. With over 100 classes, this home-grown yoga festival in Ocean Beach, California, is a celebration of all yoga in the region. IYCSD has been a part of the Ocean Beach community since 1979 and IYCSD teachers participated as part of the center’s community outreach strategies. Kim taught “Safe and Intelligent Inversions,” Cyndy deepened everyone’s Parivrttas in “A Chair with a Twist,” Royal awakened students with “Jumpings for Physical and Intellectual Vigor,” and Pat presented Iyengar Yoga sequencing for her “Developing Emotional Stability” workshop. We made new friends and also showcased Iyengar Yoga to the greater yoga community. We hope our participation in this diverse event can act as an example for Iyengar Yoga centers nationwide. IYACSR WORKSHOPS Senior teacher Carolyn Belko taught our annual open Membership workshop on Saturday, Feb. 18. Sharon Maruca (Intermediate Junior II) taught “Seated forward Extensions, from the Ground Up” in May. In the fall, we hope to have Pat McLoughlin’s expertise to share with our members—date TBA. As a member of IYNAUS, if you are in the San Diego area at the time of one of our Free for Members workshops, we will extend that benefit to you, too. IYACSR hosts three Free for Members workshops each year. Add us to your travel plans; we want you to enjoy our Iyengar Yoga community when in you’re in town, too. For more information on our offerings, please check our website: or visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook. com/iyengaryogaassociationofcaliforniasouthernregion/.

IYAGNY This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York. We have come a long way since our journey began as a collective of teachers and students without a dedicated space in 1987. Since then, we expanded into the outer boroughs with the opening of the Institute of Brooklyn in 2013 and 3


rechristened the Institute of New York in 2014. We now welcome more than 6,400 students each year, and our dedication to inspire and enable progressive lifetime learning and practice in the art, science, and philosophy of Iyengar Yoga is stronger than ever. Over the past 30 years, our mission has remained focused on nurturing the study of Iyengar Yoga within our students to ensure that the future of the Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York is strong. In May, we held a party to launch our Yogathon, which takes place on June 4. We anticipate it to be our most successful, thanks to the generous support of our association teachers and students.

About 40 students participated in the inaugural workshop at the Bellur Iyengar Yoga Center, taught by Manouso Manos.

IYALA “Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they’re meant to be.” —B.K.S. Iyengar As so often is the case, Guruji’s words provide much needed wisdom and guidance during challenging times. We are indeed experiencing changes all around us, perhaps more so than ever as the happenings in the first part of 2017 have unfolded and our attention is frequently drawn to national news. The Los Angeles community is no exception, and as Iyengar Yoga students and teachers, many of us find ourselves being drawn into our practice more deeply than ever as we navigate these changes. We are fortunate to have in our midst an abundance of Iyengar Yoga teachers and studios offering classes, which are a great resource to help us grow and blossom as Guruji advised. At the Iyengar Yoga Institute of Los Angeles, we have had a full schedule of classes and workshops with both local and visiting teachers. One of the many highlights was a course called “Deepening Your Own Practice,” taught by our own gifted teacher Keri Lee. Throughout the six-week course, Keri inspired over 30 of her students to establish or strengthen a daily practice and learn how to listen deeply to their bodies and minds to meet their individual needs. As one student remarked, “My home practice was transformed by learning about the many options available to me, and how to make choices according to my daily needs, which can change in the course of a week or even a day.” Senior teachers also helped guide us in our practice: Manouso Manos and Gloria Goldberg continued to bring their wisdom to weekend workshops at the Institute, while Marla Apt taught an intensive for teachers and practitioners in April and Carrie Owerko brought her playful teaching style to us in May. Upcoming workshops include John Schumacher from 4

Laura Baker plants a tree in the garden outside the yogashala in Bellur, India, to celebrate the Bellur Iyengar Yoga Center’s inaugural workshop.

Washington, D.C., Aug 25-27, and a philosophy workshop with Edwin Bryant in September—see for details. Gitte Beschgaard (Toronto) and Gloria Goldberg (San Diego) continued to offer their yoga philosophy workshops at the Institute—the most recent one in March concerned “The Mystical Union and Ancient Art of Self-Discovery.” How wonderful to hear students’ beautiful chanting voices reverberating around the walls of our studio. Many of our teachers also hold workshops and retreats in both local and far-away places. Koren Paalman hosts a Conscious Grieving workshop, offering wisdom through Iyengar Yoga in dealing with the loss or death of loved ones. She also leads students on delightful retreats, most recently on the North Shore of the Big Island in Hawaii (May 19-26). She will hold her annual Ojai Fall Retreat Nov. 9-12. For more information, see www. Jeff Perlman of Three Seasons Ayurveda offers ongoing free talks on Ayurveda and other workshops. Details are listed at Nov. 1-15, Jeff is taking a group to Kerala, India, for an Iyengar Yoga and Panchakarma (Indian cleansing and rejuvenation process) retreat, which will be held at a resort and health center in the South of Yoga Samachar Spring / Summer 2017

India just steps away from the Arabian Sea. More information about this retreat is available at www.threeseasonsayurveda. com/retreats. Several members of the Los Angeles community joined more than 300 intermediate students at Yoganusasanum 2016 with Abijhata in Pune, India, last December. Students were grateful for the opportunity to study with the Iyengar family in Pune, enjoying presentations and discussions with Prashant and Geeta. Abhijata delighted everyone with stories of her grandfather, B.K.S. Iyengar, and led the group skillfully through asana and pranayama for eight days. A smaller group of about 40 students continued on to Guruji’s birthplace of Bellur to study for five days with Manouso Manos—the inaugural workshop at the Bellur Iyengar Yoga Center. Manouso’s skillful teaching brought everyone to an even greater depth of practice in the midst of the community that Guruji spent much of his life building up. Each student in the workshop was invited to plant a tree in the garden just outside the yogashala. Future students at the Bellur center will be able to see the growth and changes in the years to come. Teacher training at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of Los Angeles is in now its 26th year and continues to offer a three-year comprehensive program for prospective and established teachers, as well as students who want to deepen their practice. Nine students continue to study with Gloria Goldberg, Diane Gysbers, and Marla Apt at IYILA, learning the practice and philosophy of Patanjali Yoga as taught by Guruji and his family. The Iyengar Therapeutics course has also continued under the guidance of Manouso, providing important training for teachers traveling from all over the world. The Institute has also become a regular home of assessments. We continue to have very active student participation, and most consider volunteering to be fun. In previous years, we even had to wait-list students for multiple sessions because volunteering was so popular. Our Institute has a new therapeutic program for children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Connecting to Cure Yoga. This includes monthly yoga classes on Sunday afternoons with pediatric patients from Cedars Sinai hospital, taught by Suzanne Simon. The yoga classes aim to reduce stress, decrease pain and other symptoms, as well as improve patient quality of life. Informal caregiver sessions also take place at the same time, providing support for parents and family members. This program was a dream of Morgan Check, a certified registered nurse practitioner (CRNP) at the pediatric inflammatory bowel disease center at Cedars-Sinai, who teamed up with Stacy Dylan and Dana Zatulove, founders of the Connecting to Cure Crohn’s and Colitis foundation, as well as Erica Liscano at our Iyengar Institute in Los Angeles. Because of the success of the program, we have extended it to include siblings, other pediatric

Yoga Samachar Spring / Summer 2017

patients with chronic diseases, and caregivers. To learn more about Connecting to Cure, please visit www.connectingtocure. org. We are delighted to see such positive changes in these youths and their families. Changes to our physical environment have also been afoot at the Institute. Thanks to a successful fundraising effort (including a generous donation from the Fusenot Foundation), we were able to raise half of our $50,000 goal within the first few months of the year. These funds enabled the Institute to address overdue repairs and refurbishment, as well as to update its computer system. These two initiatives were designed to support the studio experience for our teachers, students, and staff. Manouso dedicated the space after his workshop at the end of April. These have all been welcome changes for our Los Angeles practitioners, and our Institute is now a much brighter place to learn and practice. Please be sure to visit our refurbished studio whenever you are visiting Los Angeles!

IYAMN In December the Iyengar Yoga Association of Minnesota (IYAMN) held its winter yoga day at the Saint Paul Yoga Center to honor Guruji’s birthday. Joy Laine gave a brief talk on the relationship between the practice of asanas and the broader philosophy of Patanjali’s astanga yoga, followed by an asana class. About 50 practitioners attended the event, which concluded with the annual general meeting of IYAMN, refreshments, and socializing. At this event, Treasurer Richard Jones thanked outgoing President Katy Olson for her six years of service on the board of IYAMN. In January, we welcomed two new members to the IYAMN Board, Mona McNeely, CIYT, and Mary Jo Nissen, a long-term yoga practitioner who brings her experience as a cognitive scientist and epidemiologist. We also confirmed our new slate of officers for the IYAMN Board: Joy Laine (president), Luanne Laurents (vice president), Richard Jones (treasurer) and Nancy Marcy (secretary). Shannyn Joy Potter continues to develop our new web page and social media outlets. The web page now offers a range of online resources for community members who want to delve deeper into current research about the benefits of Iyengar Yoga. In April, Randy Just visited us from Texas and taught a weekend workshop for students and teachers in our area.

IYAMW Iyengar Yoga shows up in all sorts of lovely ways in the Midwest. You can find classes for the winter blues at Riverwest Yogashala in Milwaukee and Detroit; bilingual classes in Ann Arbor, Michigan; sliding-scale Brown and Black Yoga for people of color at Iyengar Yoga Detroit; and much more.



Patricia Walden and Manouso Manos at Patricia’s 70th birthday celebration

Patricia Walden and Jarvis Chen at Patricia’s 70th birthday celebration

We are thrilled to provide our first Community Grant to CIYT Erin Shawgo of Detroit. Erin is working on a research thesis as part of her master’s degree program in social work at Wayne State University. The grant will help fund a research project studying the effects that an eight-week introductory Iyengar Yoga class can have on women in a substance abuse treatment program. The yoga intervention includes 45 minutes of asana, as well as discussion about the Yamas and Niyamas and how they can be applied to recovery and asana.

PATRICIA WALDEN’S 70TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION Friends and students of Patricia Walden from New England and across the country gathered to celebrate her 70th birthday on Oct. 8, 2016. Patricia taught a special class at St. Mary’s Church in Cambridge to more than 100 students early in the day, followed by a gala evening at Walker Memorial Hall at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

We will be giving away $500 mini-grants each quarter, so if you are a CIYT member of IYAMW and teaching in a nontraditional yoga setting or to a community that does not usually have access to Iyengar Yoga, consider applying. Contact for information. CIYT Becca Lindsay has been teaching two community classes through Ann Arbor School of Yoga Action (AASY Action), a nonprofit organization that makes Iyengar Yoga more available and accessible: a bilingual community class in Spanish and English and a Teen Class with students from local high schools. The teens really love rope Sirsasana. Mark your calendars for Sept. 15-17 for the 2017 Midwest Retreat at Q Center, just west of Chicago. Senior Teacher Mary Reilly of Petoskey, Michigan, and Intermediate Junior Teacher Peggy Gwi-Seok Hong of Detroit will teach on the theme “Time and Presence.” Through asana, pranayama, and philosophy discussion, we will consider the timelessness of Iyengar Yoga as well as its importance in this particular time and place. Several needs-based scholarships will be available, so don’t let funds prevent you from taking this time to refresh yourself. The scholarship application form will be up on our website by May. Several board members are completing their final year of service, and we will be holding elections for new members this Fall. If you would like to join our team and participate in promoting Iyengar Yoga in the Midwest, contact us via our website.



The elegant evening celebration was coordinated by Claire Carroll, Roni Brissette, Jarvis Chen, Tristan Binns, and Jo McKendry, with the heartfelt contribution of many others who love her deeply. The day included moving asana demonstrations, gorgeous table decorations made from lemons, a homemade quilt from her students, toasts, roasts, chanting, and video greetings from those who could not attend—including international birthday greetings from a group of headstanders who sang Happy Birthday upside down. “I never imagined I would even be around for this birthday,” laughed Patricia with disarming dishonesty, “—never mind being so celebrated.” We were honored to hear tributes from Patricia’s longtime yoga colleagues, Joan White and Manouso Manos. The room at MIT came alive with love, laughter, admiration, and delight that poured from every heart and was graciously received by Patricia, who, by the end of the evening, was almost speechless. Her husband, Tom Alden, gazed at her and said what we all felt: how filled with love for her he was. And their sweet dance perfectly ended the evening. IYANE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMS Our scholarship program got a major boost in late 2016 in connection with Patricia Walden’s 70th birthday celebration. We renamed the program in her honor and raised close to $10,000 to endow it. This comes on the heels of an active two years of work to expand our eligibility categories and outreach efforts. 

Yoga Samachar Spring / Summer 2017

In 2015, we redesigned the program to reach a wider network of current and prospective practitioners throughout New England. We remain committed to supporting applications from dedicated CIYTs who share their expertise and enthusiasm for Iyengar Yoga and who would like to study at RIMYI or in Bellur, but we also invite applications from members of “underrepresented” groups including: • • • •

Full-time high school or college students Students from diverse backgrounds New England residents from outside the Greater Boston area Applicants with documented health issues for which yoga may be helpful (This category of students may only use funds to study with instructors authorized to teach therapeutics.)

Over the past two years, we’ve provided awards to two students currently enrolled in IYNAUS-approved training programs in our region, two attendees at the 2016 IYNAUS Convention in Boca Raton, two applicants from northern Vermont, and one lowincome student in the Boston area. We also funded requests from two CIYTs to study in India. IYANE COMMUNITY SERVICE COMMITTEE The Iyengar Yoga Association of New England also awarded a scholarship from its Community Service Committee to Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher and Tufts University history professor Kris Manjapra in recognition of his efforts to bring Iyengar Yoga to people of color, marginalized communities, and young people. In the wake of nationwide concern over police violence in communities of color last summer, Kris Manjapra and Patricia Walden organized and held special community workshops and Kris held classes at Art and Soul in Cambridge, MA, for people of color. In addition to teaching workshops concerning race and yoga, Kris, with the help of Annie Hoffman, organized yoga days at the John D. O’Bryant School, a public high school serving a diverse community in Roxbury, MA. Along with five other Iyengar Yoga teachers (Lucilda Dassardo-Cooper, Carol Faulkner, Jo McKendry, Nadja Refaie, and Mary Wixted), Kris led over 500 students in workshops over the course of two days. IYANE plans to continue making service and community engagement a priority for our association.

IYANW This year has been a time to reflect, to celebrate longevity, and to embrace transitions for the Northwest. This year, Julie Gudmestad of Gudmestad Yoga Studio in Portland, Oregon, is pleased to celebrate 40 years as a physical therapist, and next year she will celebrate her 30-year anniversary of Iyengar Yoga certification. Julie has spent these decades working to integrate her western medical knowledge with the healing powers of yoga. She has helped hundreds of people along the path of healing to reach optimal health and Yoga Samachar Spring / Summer 2017

wholeness. She is honored to be able to share her passion for yoga influenced by a physical therapist's perspective. On Jan. 20, about 30 students joined together at Jewel Yoga in Portland, Oregon, for a community gathering to nurture equanimity in a challenging and tumultuous time. They celebrated with readings, chanting, and meditation followed by refreshments.  One of our most established Iyengar Yoga studios in the Seattle area changed hands at the beginning of the year. Pat Musburger handed over the “Savasana chime” as she ended nearly 14 years as owner and director of Treehouse Iyengar Yoga. Pat will continue to teach some classes and do weekend workshops but was delighted to no longer have the day-to-day operations of the studio. No one knew at the time how perfect the timing would be. Just a week later, Pat was diagnosed with severe heart disease and on Jan. 13 underwent triple bypass surgery. She came through the surgery with flying colors and amazed the medical staff with her ability to maneuver around without the use of her upper body. She would like to express her gratitude for both the practice of Iyengar Yoga and the support of the Iyengar Yoga community. Best wishes to Pat in her recovery, and to Angela Dawn, the new director of Treehouse Iyengar Yoga.  The Boise community is excited to announce the opening of the Iyengar Yoga Center of Boise. Long-time student Lisa Bescherer and CIYT Don Gura will open the studio this spring in Boise’s historical North End neighborhood. The new studio will be a modern, welcoming space for practice and instruction in accordance with Guruji’s teachings. Through participation in local neighborhood and business associations, along with an active social media plan, Don and Lisa hope to increase the visibility, awareness, and presence of Iyengar Yoga in Boise. In March, the Iyengar Yoga Association of the Northwest (IYANW) welcomed three new board members and held a productive General Meeting in the Seattle area to brainstorm new ways to support the practice of Iyengar Yoga in our vast region. We always cherish these in-person meetings because of the large geographic expanse our regional association represents—Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, and Alaska. 

IYASCUS The Iyengar Yoga Association of the South Central United States (IYASCUS) has been revitalized in 2017 and is moving forward with many new ideas and projects. Our region consists of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas. Recently, Jawahar Bengara visited Austin to teach a weekend workshop, seamlessly integrating yoga philosophy and asana in his classes. Laurie Blakeney taught in Austin in January, and Dean Lerner taught in Dallas in February. We are fortunate and 7


grateful to host these senior teachers in our region. For Guruji’s birthday, our regional association sponsored a Free Day of Iyengar Yoga. Studios throughout the region advertised the free classes with Facebook events, and the association paid to “boost” the event, which is approximately $25. More than 150 new students attended the event at the Iyengar Yoga Studio of Dallas, and from those numbers, the studio has retained approximately 20 new students. It was a great community event. In February, through the support of our region, Iyengar Yoga was represented at the 8th Annual Texas Yoga Conference, hosted by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in Houston, Texas. This event was a great opportunity to network with the greater yoga community and the public at large. Exciting Iyengar Yoga teacher trainings in Dallas and Austin are bringing many new teachers into the system and spreading the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar in our communities. Our programs also further the knowledge and experience of our Certified Iyengar Yoga Teachers (CIYTs) on their paths. Randy Just led the first training of the year at the B.K.S. Iyengar Studio of Dallas in February. Many teachers of all levels traveled from all over the country to attend. The education and camaraderie of the group was special. We are a growing Iyengar Yoga community. In April, Gloria Goldberg taught a weekend teacher training and workshop for Intermediate Junior III to Intermediate Senior II teachers in Dallas. An experienced Senior Teacher, Gloria demonstrated her gift for conveying intricate and sophisticated information with an economy of words. This made her classes understandable and accessible to everyone who attended. We are happy to report that our beloved George Purvis is feeling better and back to limited teaching. Last year was challenging because he had a recurrence of cancer, but he has persevered and is back to better health. Information and updates from our region may be found on our website at and on Facebook. Our region is growing, and we welcome all of you to come visit us soon.

IYASE The Iyengar Yoga Association of the Southeast (IYASE) held its first board meeting of 2017 on Jan. 8. We welcomed three new members: Samuel Cooper, our new membership co-chair; Denise Rowe, scholarship chair; and Inge Mula Myllerup Brookhuis, member-at-large. We also bid farewell to three outgoing board members: Jann Boyer, Chris O’Brien, and Tay Strauss who gave endless hours of guidance and energy to our association over the past four years. The continued energy of our newly organized programs have been—and will continue to be—evident in our continuing 8

education lineup. Leanne Rocque, continuing education chair, organized three years of workshops to enable our members to plan ahead for expenses and reserve time. IYASE will provide teaching assistants at the Intermediate Junior 1 or higher level to assist workshop presenters. In March, Kathleen Pringle from Stillwater Yoga in Atlanta taught the Introductory and Intermediate Junior 1 combined teacher training to an enthusiastic group of teachers and aspiring teachers. One participant was able to attend after receiving a scholarship. The next workshop will be held in Arlington, Virginia, on July 21–23. Juliana Fair will present “Yoga to Manage Anxiety and Depression,” and the workshop is open to all members. Iyengar Yoga Membership Outreach and Education (MORE) program workshops were held in Orlando, Gainesville, St. Augustine, and Daytona Beach, FL. These workshops introduced over 48 yoga students to Iyengar Yoga. We signed up five new IYNAUS members from these workshops. If you are a member who lives in an area where Iyengar Yoga is not taught within 100 miles and want a teacher to come teach a workshop, or if you are a teacher who wants to teach in a community that has no Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher, please consider the Iyengar Yoga MORE program. Workshops are reasonably priced, accessible to all yoga practitioners, and fun. Let’s spread the word. Two of our members are providing excellent membership support. Susanne Bulington from Memphis is the driving force behind our monthly Home Practice Plans program. Every month, our members receive a practice plan from one of our senior teachers. Susanne contacts our senior teachers for a plan, takes pictures of the poses using one of our members as a model, and writes up the plan with instructions for the student. Each month, IYASE sends them to our membership, providing great information and a lovely keepsake. Sara Agelasto, CIYT, of Charlottesville, Virginia, is heading up our newly formed IYASE YouTube Channel, which we’re using to promote Iyengar Yoga and our talented, highly trained teachers. If you are a CIYT in the southeast region, please consider making a one- or two-minute video teaching a pose on your current syllabus. Basic guidelines on how to make a video are available on our website at Check out the videos on our YouTube Channel at IYASENEWS and subscribe to see new videos as they are added. Sara has been helping some teachers make their teaching videos but would love contributions from others. IYASE has awarded several scholarships so far in 2017, including one for a member to attend classes at RIMYI in Pune and two for continuing education. Scholarships are available for members’ continuing education, trips to Pune, general Yoga Samachar Spring / Summer 2017

workshops, and certification expenses. We encourage IYASE members to visit our website and apply. It’s not too early to start looking for next year’s board slate. Please contact if you are interested in helping us serve our members or know someone who would be a good fit.

IYASW As the holiday season dissipated after an unusually cold and rainy winter, our delayed spring in the Southwest finally came. The Iyengar Yoga Association of the Southwest (IYASW) started 2017 with a successful membership drive. New interested members meditated while walking a healing labyrinth. February brought an amazing weekend with senior teacher Nancy Stechert at the Iyengar Yoga center in Scottsdale, Arizona. Nancy shared how to move from the periphery to the core with her gentle yet dynamic teaching. All students who attended came away eager to practice what they had learned. All appreciated her passion for the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar. Former IYASW Treasurer (2014-2015) Meredith Smith passed away at the end of February. Meredith was an ardent supporter of Iyengar Yoga and a devoted student. He supported the

growth of Iyengar Yoga in Scottsdale by being the lead donor for the yoga rope wall that was constructed in the fall of 2016 at Scottsdale Community College’s Iyengar Yoga Center. All of us in the Southwest region are saddened by this loss and will always miss him. In March, we attended the Yoga Festival amid Sedona’s beautiful red rocks. Marivic Wrobel taught an asana class, and Karen Smith lectured on benefits of Iyengar Yoga. IYASW sponsored a booth to promote Iyengar Yoga, sell B.K.S. Iyengar’s books, and share our own passion for this style of yoga. It was an opportunity to spread the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar to yogis who may not have previously experienced Iyengar Yoga. Our April workshop with Carolyn Belko was a success. The classes were filled with students eager to learn. We are always grateful when Carolyn comes to visit and shares her depth of knowledge and therapeutic modifications. The yoga community is growing in the Southwest, and we are fortunate to have the support of several senior teachers to guide us on this journey.



rohn’s disease runs in our family. My father died in 1960 of Crohn’s complications at the age of 27. My sister, brother, aunts, and a cousin all have Crohn’s. I was finally diagnosed in 1996 when I was 38 years old. Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect different areas of the digestive tract. However, with Crohn’s, the immune system not only attacks the gastrointestinal (GI) system, but the inflammation can spread or “spill over” and affect the skin, eyes, and joints. Symptoms vary from person to person, even within our family. My sister has diarrhea, my brother constipation. Their “spill over” inflammation affects their skin. She has severe psoriasis, and he has eczema. I didn’t suffer diarrhea or constipation. My main symptom was cramping, and the inflammatory “spill over” affected my eyes, lungs, and joints. I was a graphic designer with my own business. For several years before my Crohn’s was finally diagnosed, I had chronic bouts of both iritis (a painful inflammation of the iris) and bronchitis (chronic inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes). With Crohn’s disease, the immune system can also attack the musculoskeletal system, leading to spondyloarthritis, a painful condition that affects the spine and joints. It was this severe joint and back pain that finally led me to yoga. Yoga Samachar Spring / Summer 2017

When I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, my ankles were black and blue and so swollen that they were unrecognizable as body parts. They resembled massive eggplants. I could barely go up and down stairs and was wheel-chaired into my hospital room. I was scoped top to bottom. The doctor informed me that he could not find one square inch of normal GI tissue. He explained that one of the problems with Crohn’s disease is that the inflammation spreads deep into the layers of the gastro intestinal tissues so that the more surface area of the GI tract that is affected, the less absorption there is of nutrients, which then leads to malnutrition and severe fatigue. Sitting in the doctor’s office, I listened as his words swam around me. I looked down at my eggplant ankles and gestured 9

Supta Virasana with lots of support

to them. He shook his head and recommended that I start wearing high-top tennis shoes “for support.” The swimming words stopped. I had to dress to give presentations to my clients. I happened to like shoes—fashionable shoes. I was so sick that I could barely keep my head up, but somewhere inside I vowed: No eggplant ankles in high-top tennis shoes. There had to be a better way. Before I left his office, I asked if I needed to change my diet. Were there things I shouldn’t eat? I had spent my entire life helping with my sister’s severe food allergies. I was ready for a long list of forbidden foods. Instead, he said gently, “You will know.” I went home, propped up with prednisone, an anti-inflammatory steroid, and sat down to a generous bowl of smooth, creamy frozen custard. I lived in Wisconsin, the dairy state. Even with all the prednisone, the cramping was unmistakable. I tried pasta. Ditto. No dairy. No wheat. No corn. No grains. I had stopped eating meat decades before. It had never agreed with me. My new diet of fish, cooked vegetables, and fruit did not save me. I was still getting sick with Crohn’s flare-ups, bronchitis, and iritis. I went on and off the prednisone and all sorts of maintenance medications. My joint and back pain worsened.


That was 20 years ago, before the internet. Yoga was not popular or mainstream, particularly in the Midwest. When I met my first yoga teacher, Maria, we were both wives at a university department gathering. She taught yoga classes a few blocks from my home. I had only vague notions of Indian mystics in odd positions, yet she assured me that yoga could help my back. I was so clueless and Maria’s South American accent so thick that I didn’t realize until my fourth class that she was NOT saying “Downward Duck!” I mention all of this because after doing yoga for so long, it’s not always easy to remember just how foreign and odd yoga can appear to a new practitioner, particularly one who is in pain and fearful. Maria was a new teacher, not yet certified. She had just started training with Lois Steinberg who gave her a Crohn’s sequence. I had spent the previous couple of years hunched over, my arms folded and hugging my stomach in a permanent protective grip against the acute abdominal and bronchial pain, and there I was on the floor, spread open and tied up with a bolster under my back—Supta Baddha Konasana. The second pose was even more foreign—rope Sirsasana. I watched in disbelief as my tiny, lithe, young teacher scrambled up the wall and flipped upside down. Are you kidding? She

Yoga Samachar Spring / Summer 2017

hung there, gesturing, “See how this pose stretches out my abdomen. It will make you feel better.” Cold liquid fear flooded my body. I didn’t go upside down. I stood there frozen and terrified and then everything fell away. My only thought: No high-top tennis shoes. Maria wrapped and tied me up in blankets and pushed me up the wall. I was too weak to pull myself up. During my initial fullblown panic, my hands clenched in fists around the ropes. I waited. The ropes did not snap. Minutes went by. I gingerly let go. Gradually, I could feel my torso lengthening. Suspended, I drifted in and out of this new netherworld and then, the unmistakable sensation of a clump of intestines unknotting. That was the beginning. I learned my bolster poses: Supta Baddha Konasana, Supta Swastikasana, Supta Virasana with lots of support and Setu Bandha Sarvangasana—all poses to help me relax AND lengthen my abdomen. When I felt stronger, I did my standing poses at the wall. At home, I did Ardha Chandrasana at the kitchen cabinets, my elbow on the counter, my top hand on my pelvis, rolling it open. For my back, I practiced Ardha Uttanasana with my hands on the counter. Ugh! Sometimes, the universe works in mysterious ways. Maria taught at a dance studio. It was a mixed-level class, and as a favor to the owner, her yoga classes were free to the dancers, which is how I found myself sandwiched between two eighteen-year-old ballerinas. I was in knee length plaid shorts trying to do Uttansasana, my finger tips only reaching my knee caps, and these flexible little Gumbies folded completely in half, their torsos glued to their legs. They were sprites, reminding me how beautiful the human body could be. Several classes later: Chaturanga Dandasana. Sometimes not knowing is a gift. However, my senior teacher, John Schumacher, always says yoga puts you face to face with your stuff. Maria demonstrated the pose and then gave us directions. “Lie down on the floor. Place your hands by your waist. Roll your shoulders back, etc., etc. And lift off!”

I had one more turning point in my early days. Even though I always felt better after my yoga class, after awhile I let my graphic design deadlines have priority. I missed classes and got sick and sicker. I spent the Christmas holidays horizontal on the couch. Finally, while sitting in yet another doctor’s office, waiting for an appointment, I realized, it takes time to be sick. The time I wasted in doctors’ offices, I could have spent in class. I was only kidding myself thinking if I worked harder, the work would get done. There would always be projects piled up. I would never get “done.” So I made up my mind—my first mantra of sorts, even though I didn’t know it at the time. No matter how tired I felt, no matter what aches and pains I had, I told myself I was going to get my ass to class. I did not allow myself to have a choice. All bundled up in the dead of Wisconsin winter, I crunched through the ice and snow, muttering to myself, “Just get your ass to class.” That winter, after another round of prednisone, I started going to four classes a week. I was determined. No high-top tennis shoes. No more horizontal holidays. As my practice gained momentum in class, my mantra also gained ground. “Get your ass to class” became, “Get on the mat. Every day. No matter what.” I started a home practice, of sorts. In the beginning, it was only a few poses. After a year of my new class regimen and my burgeoning home practice, I told my doctor I wanted to get off the maintenance drugs. They had so many side effects, I had to go in every two months to get my liver checked. He didn’t advise it, but I never looked back. I went with Maria to my first workshop with Manouso in Chicago. I had never seen so many people doing yoga. We did standing poses for hours. My thigh muscles turned to molten lava. During the Q&A, she asked him about yoga and Crohn’s. He said, “Parsva Pindasana.” She told him I didn’t do Padmasana. He said, there’s no time to lose. In the car, on the way home, Maria told me how I could use sand bags on my

Nothing lifted off—except my nose. Worse, I was surprised that nothing lifted. I put my head down. Maria rattled off points to get us ready for our next attempt. Tears came to my eyes. Through all of the illnesses, the medications, the doctor’s appointments, I still did not fully, truly comprehend just how sick I had been and how weak I had become. The Gumby ballerinas flanked me. People 10 and 20 years my senior were readying themselves for their next successful attempt. I let the moment sink in. So, this is where I am. This is where I start.

Ardha Chandrasana at the kitchen counter

Yoga Samachar Spring / Summer 2017


B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States P.O. Box 538 Seattle, WA 98111

Yoga Samachar editor Michelle D. Williams ascends stairs at Pura Besakih, the Hindu “Mother Temple� in Besakih, Bali, Indonesia, 1996. This temple is the most important, the largest and holiest of the Hindu religion in Bali, and one of a series of Balinese temples. Photo: Curtis Settino

Yogasamachar ss2017 partial  
Yogasamachar ss2017 partial  

IYNAUS's mission is to spread the teachings of B. K. S. Iyengar and the Iyengar Family. The IYNAUS Board believes that central to that missi...